Greener Trash Cans Come to Philly

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dan Stamm
    BigBelly Solar trash cans were placed all around Center City in a hope of saving money while being good to the environment.

    In a city known for being rough, tough and at times grungy -- a leaner, greener and just plain cleaner trash can hit the streets.

    We know what you’re thinking -- a trash can, who cares?

    What's Up With the New Trash Cans

    [PHI] What's Up With the New Trash Cans
    The city made a big investment in going green with solar-powered trash cans. (Published Friday, Jul 17, 2009)

    Well the leaner and greener “BigBelly Solar” trash cans crashed the traditional waste management scene starting in May. They were installed to make Philly greener than ever.

    Mayor Michael Nutter rolled out the new trash-compacting receptacles amidst hoopla. He mentioned the green benefits and recycling possibilities for some of the 500 machines that now reside between the rivers from Spring Garden to South Street.

    By now most of the so-called “ecostations” (fancy speak for super trash cans) have hit the streets. But, the value to Philly might not be very obvious to those people throwing away their trash in the solar-powered compactors.

    The real story was about the green benefits -- as in saving the city some “green.”

    "We're very excited," said Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson. "We're saving taxpayer dollars."

    BigBelly’s should save the city cash. First off, they didn’t cost the city anything because they were purchased using a $2.2 million state recycling grant.

    The biggest draw was that the compactors required less manpower. It will take only eight guys to clean out city trash cans -- a job that used to require 33 workers, according to Tolson.

    And the “ecostations” hold about 200 gallons of trash compared to only 55 gallons for traditional trash cans.

    BigBelly Solar crunched some numbers and believe that they will save Philly about $12.9 million over the next 10 years, according to Richard Kennelly, vice president of marketing.

    So don’t be afraid next time you go downtown and see some weird box-shaped solar thingy where your traditional wire basket once was -- just be sure to recycle.